(Bloomberg) -- Most leaders want to be seen with victims in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Not Mexico’s Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
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Pictures of the president’s first trip to hurricane-hit Acapulco, where he was caught stuck in the mud trying to reach the devastated areas by car, have scarred him. In his own words, he now wants to avoid the “spectacle.”
“I can’t get exposed,” Lopez Obrador said, explaining the lack of photos or videos of him at the traditional beachside resort city, which he said he visited several times after Otis’s devastation on Oct. 25.
AMLO, as the president is known, has been criticized by political rivals and Mexican commentators for appearing to put distance to the Acapulco disaster, refraining to give speeches or make any media appearance in the city despite his fondness for relentless government communication.
But the president used his press conference on Tuesday to hit back, saying media organizations such as Televisa and TV Azteca want a show, and would give space to provocateurs to insult him on camera.
“They want spectacle,” he said, speaking from the state of Sinaloa, in northwest Mexico. “I’m not going to lend myself to those kinds of provocations. That’s what they want.”
Read More: Hurricane Disaster in Mexico Spurs Criticism of AMLO Response
The president also pointed to the widely-shared photo of him trudging in the mud the day of his first arrival to the ravaged area and said it has been used by his rivals to attack him. He also riled on a local report that claimed that funerary homes have accounted for over 300 deaths due to the hurricane, far above the 48 that the government has officially counted.
AMLO is expected to travel on Wednesday to Acapulco, where residents have complained that basic supplies remain scarce. He will then follow to the APEC summit in San Francisco.
Read More: Acapulco Needs at Least 5 Times More Than AMLO’s Recovery Pledge
(Recasts lead, updates final paragraph with Acapulco’s situation.)
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